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Welcome New NY4P Staff

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Michelle Velez, Mariana Lo, Caitlin Mason, and Gabriella Cappo

NY4P has four new team members! Get to know Gabriella, Mariana, Caitlin, and Michelle in their own words.

Gabriella Cappo, Community Outreach Coordinator

I grew up in Connecticut and currently live in Brooklyn. My undergraduate degree is in International Affairs and Spanish. I got my Master’s Degree at the New School in International Affairs with a focus on Cities and Social Justice. Before coming to NY4P I was with the Parks Department helping organize volunteers in caring for street trees and natural areas.

As NY4P’s new Community Outreach Coordinator, I will be working closely with Emily Walker, the Director of Outreach and Programming. I am starting my time here by working on the Daffodil Project and the 2017 election campaign. In general, I will work to build and strengthen relationships between NY4P and the communities we serve.

I am really excited about being a part of NY4P as a whole. All of the NY4P projects, those I am involved with and those I am indirectly tied to, are fascinating and I am thrilled to be part of an organization that serves the community in so many important ways.

Fun fact about me: I have visited a park in ALMOST every continent (except for Australia and Antarctica)

My very own dream park would have LOTS of off leash dog areas, so I could go on long walks with my Pomeranian, and comfortable reading nooks.

Mariana Lo – Research and Planning Analyst

Prior to joining NY4P, I was a researcher and litigation assistant at Earthjustice. I hold a Master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where I also worked as a Community Forester and street tree planter. After earning my undergraduate degree in linguistics from the University of Chicago, I spent three years as a full-time AmeriCorps volunteer, serving with the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps in Chicago and later at Bethlehem Farm in West Virginia. I grew up in California’s Silicon Valley suburbs and now live in Manhattan. 

As the Research and Planning Analyst at NY4P, I do data collection, analysis, and research on parks and open spaces in support of our advocacy work. This fall, I’ll be spending most of my time on the Civic Action Tracker and the next Open Space Index report. I hope that my work will further illustrate the importance of parks and open spaces to the civic life of the city, as well as to the physical and social health of New Yorkers. I’m excited to learn more about, and get involved in, city politics and policy.

My dream green space would be a network of rooftop gardens on every apartment building in the city, so that people who don’t have backyards could still enjoy the benefits of greenery and gardening (and maybe a nice view!).

Caitlin Mason – Development Associate

I graduated from Boston College in 2016 with a degree in English and Theatre, and became really interested in development through my recent internships at two nonprofit theatre companies.

As Development Associate, I will be assisting will all fundraising efforts, from gift processing to working on grants to helping plan and run events. I am excited to learn more about parks and open space policy, and to help get others to care and be encouraged to donate to support the work NY4P does to promote open spaces for everyone.

My dream park would have lots of walking paths, benches, pools of water, and waterfalls with artistic programming.

Michelle Velez – Development Manager

I am a development professional with experience as a fundraising consultant and a passion for green space. My last position was at CCS, a firm that provides onsite fundraising consulting services for non-profit organizations. My career in the non-profit world began in Mexico City, where I was a Princeton in Latin America Fellow at Endeavor, an international nonprofit that promotes high-impact entrepreneurship in developing economies. I am excited to reconnect with my passion for green space and sustainability that began while I was in college at Villanova University. As an undergraduate, I helped spearhead an initiative to organize a campus community garden that I am happy to share has recently broken ground thanks to continued leadership in the years since my graduation. I am also a native Long Islander who loves beaches and hikes.

As the new Development Manager, I am working closely with each NY4P team to develop strategies for our annual development plan. Currently, my Development Team, with the support of our new Development Associate, Caitlin, is preparing for our annual gala. We are responsible for all aspects of NY4P’s development activities to reach our annual budget and grow additional support over time.

I’m thrilled to join the NY4P team! I look forward to a successful 2017 Party 4 Parks annual gala in October and to continue to build relationships with the generous individuals, foundations, and corporations who make our work for parks possible.

On Sundays, you might just find me playing Quidditch (the sport from the Harry Potter series where the players fly on broomsticks) in Central Park!

In a world of dream parks, I think a park with fruit trees would be cool – local apples in the fall and beautiful blossoms in the spring!



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